Best Artist - 2003
Last year, Sally Ordile was like many a South Floridian, a transplant from the north, in her case from New York City to Boynton Beach. She had been practicing art a scant half a dozen years, and then something remarkable happened: At age 62, she was discovered. Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art's director, Michael Rush, and PBICA Assistant Curator Jody Servon included the budding artist in their flashy "Sculpture Now" show, which reasserted the relevance of contemporary sculpture. Ordile was the only South Florida-based artist represented in the show, a detail especially notable given her choice of medium. Although Ordile also produces prints and encaustic, her most powerful work takes advantage of things most South Florida homeowners consider an annoyance: those bulky stalks and husks that peel off from the larger varieties of palms, littering lawns and streets and occasionally inflicting damage on cars. In Ordile's hands, they become things of beauty, smoothed and painted and adorned with bits of fabric and other items. No other area artist has so thoroughly integrated the readily available materials of her adopted home into her art with such force and originality.